- "Encounter at Farpoint" features one of the most tear-jerking moments in Star Trek history: Data's "special assignment" to escort a "rather remarkable man" on a tour of the Enterprise-D. What makes it so duct-damaging? That man was DeForest Kelley as Dr. McCoy from the original series, who would only appear two more times before his death (in the fifth and sixth movies, which premiered after TNG).McCoy: This is a new ship, but she's got the right name. Now you remember that, you hear?
Data: I will.
McCoy: You treat her like a lady, she'll always bring you home.
- Picard's encounter with the illusory version of his dead mother in one of the Enterprise corridors. It gets turned Up to Eleven when he happens to turn around and glimpse at Riker for the briefest of moments, only to discover that she's gone again when he turns back to look at the spot where she was. Even though Picard gets back down to business comparatively quickly, he looks so utterly crushed in the moments after he realises she's gone again.
- Tasha's funeral, as she gives a series of goodbyes to all of her friends.
- And then there's Data's question after the service:Data: I find my thoughts are not for Tasha, but for myself. I keep thinking how empty it will be without her presence. Did I miss the point?
Picard: No... no, you didn't, Data. You got it.
- Even more touching, a later episode will have Data pulling out a little hologram of Tasha from the eulogy.
- Just the fact that after surviving her childhood on a lawless hellhole of a planet, Tasha dies in her twenties.
- Picard Break Them by Talking of Armus. Armus tries so hard to Don't You Dare Pity Me!, but it's obvious it's a pathetic, lonely bereft thing that has no choice but to rage and hurt.
- Troi's tears were for real as Marina Sirtis had become friends with Denise Crosby by this point, and was saddened that she was leaving the show so soon.
- To a much lesser extent, Armus itself. A creature created by a race who took their anger, hate and all other negative emotions, seperated themselves from them and just threw them away like garbage. The only joy it feels is when it's being malicious or evil, because that's literally what it's composed of and all it understands.
- And then there's Data's question after the service:
- Commander Remmick's fate. He's first introduced in "Coming Of Age" as a Jerkass who is trying to find everything wrong he can with the Enterprise, but only because he was tasked to act that way. After truly finding nothing wrong at all, he expresses his wishes to serve aboard the Enterprise for his next tour of duty. Only for him to unceremoniously be possessed by the mother parasite and blown up in a completely gruesome manner in "Conspiracy."
- Believe it or not, in "The Outrageous Okona," there's Data's subplot. He tries so hard to be funny, but at the end, he realizes (in front of a holographic crowd) that it's something he just isn't going to get. He stops mid-way and actually orders the program terminated. Speaking as someone with a lot of trouble interacting with people, that's a sad realization to come to.
- After the death of Riva's chorus, he suffers a Despair Event Horizon, realizing that, for the first time in his life, he has no way to communicate with anyone. Picard and Troi try to get his head right, but it's no use; Riva is terrified.
- Riker is looking at Data's blueprints and schematics. He finds something he can use against Data in the upcoming hearing, so he smiles. But then his face falls as he realizes that he now has a weapon to destroy one of his closest friends, and duty obligates him to use it. Here are some screencaps: Riker pleased◊ and Riker bummed out◊.
- To expand on the above, when making his case at the hearing Riker goes so far as to remove Data's hand and shutting him off. All present look very disturbed by this, but you can see tears in Riker's eyes as he sits back down. It must have killed him to hurt his friend like that.
- Also from that episode, during the trial Picard brings up Data's moment of intimacy with Tasha. Data actually has a little memorial of her. And when asked to define his relationship with Tasha, Data just says they were "intimate". It's one thing to make someone talk about having feelings for someone on the spot, but another still when they can't even properly say it.
- Wesley approaching Captain Picard in his ready room, trying to comprehend the destruction of the Yamato, the Enterprise's sister ship. For all his technical skill, Wesley is still a sixteen year old who just watched a thousand people die in a senseless accident, and can't understand how or why it happened.
- Kevin Uxbridge's confession at the end of "The Survivors": he was a Douwd posing as a human who had fallen in love with a human woman, Rishon, and lived on a distant Federation colony world. One day, the Husnock, a savage warrior race, attacked the colony. Kevin was a pacifist and refused to fight while Rishon joined the other 11,000 colonists in defending their world. The Husnock wiped out the colonists and Kevin, in a moment of grief and rage at Rishon's death, obliterated all fifty billion Husnock in the universe with a single thought. Horrified, he sentenced himself to exile on the planet with only an illusion of his wife for company. And Picard's closing monologue just puts the cap on it.Picard: Captain's Log, Stardate 43153.7. We are departing the Rana system for Starbase 133. We leave behind a being of extraordinary power and conscience. I'm not certain if he should be praised or condemned, only that he should be left alone.
- Deanna Troi was also a bit of a Woobie in this episode - she has the melody from a music box put into her head by a nervous Kevin, looping with perfect clarity, and getting louder and louder and louder for her each time. Halfway through the episode, Troi is crying and screaming, begging for anything to stop the torture. Doubles as Nightmare Fuel.
- It takes a lot of arm-twisting for Picard to prove to Nuria that no, he and his fellow officers are not gods. In an incredibly depressing scene, he finally gets through to her when one of the wounded scientists from earlier in the episode dies on the table, right in front of her, to the despair of another scientist. Nuria looks crushed, and Picard drives the point home:Picard: We can cure many diseases and we can repair injuries, we can even extend life. But for all our knowledge, all our advances, we are just as mortal as you are. Were just as powerless to prevent the inevitable.
- The ending; Nuria wishing Picard good journeys and asking him to remember her people is very tear-jerking in a heartwarming way and so moving and so deeply felt. His laconic answer ("Always") is in the same vein.
- "The Bonding," defying the whole Red Shirt phenomenon of TOS, deals closely with the sudden death of Marla Aster, a crewman, and the effect it has on her son Jeremy. The result is just tears all over the place, not the least of which is Picard having to break the news to young Jeremy. Turns out his father is also gone.
- Worf doesn't exactly help in the tears department. He led the away team on the mission that killed Marla Aster, and that fact weighs heavily on him. When Troi twists his arm a bit to get him to open up, poor Worf can only pace around the room, completely overcome with regret and anger.
- Obviously, this brings up the topic of Wesley's late father, also Beverly's late husband. Wesley opens up to her about the little things he remembers about his last days with his father, Picard's eyes when he broke the news to Wesley..... and Beverly quickly cuts him off with a Cooldown Hug. Beverly's face through the whole conversation is gut-wrenchingly sad.
- Even the alien intruders can make viewers want to cry! There's a non-corporeal alien trying to cheer young Jeremy up by pretending to be his mother, and then she (he? it?) reveals that her (his? its?) species doesn't want to see suffering again because they were there when another species went extinct due to war. To top it all off, Picard then gives a speech on mortality.
- Commander Riker having to kill his latest love interest, Yuta, because she is a Poisonous Person with an instinctual compulsion to murder a certain sect of her species. With normally-lethal phaser shots not stopping her, he is forced to go full blast and vaporize her.
- The end of "The Defector," in which the eponymous character commits suicide after a serious Kick the Dog moment, realizing that he can never see his wife or daughter again, and it was all for nothing.
- The fates of Roga Danar and the other Super Soldiers in "The Hunted" before the Enterprise arrived. They had been genetically modified to be the perfect soldiers, but when peace was declared, they were deemed too dangerous to be around normal people and were institutionalized on the planet's moon. Throw in that this episode was an allegory for Vietnam veterans (and is still a very relevant issue today) and it only gets worse.
- "Yesterday's Enterprise" is full of Tear Jerkers, many of which are of the Fridge Horror Variety.
Picard: Let's make sure history never forgets the name Enterprise.
- First of all being the fact that the ship we have always heard described as a ship of exploration, peace and opportunity, is now literally called a galaxy class battleship. The very idea tears right at the gut of what Star Trek is meant to be about. And all because of one unfought battle 22 years ago.
- Tasha's decision to return back in time with the Enterprise-C, knowing their very virtually nonexistent chance of survival, because she knows she's dead in the original timeline and this time she'd like her death to count for something.
- Being aware of the events that led up to this version of the timeline, it is clear that Worf, too, is probably dead, as he was rescued as a child by Starfleet officers from the massacre at Khitomer.
- Wesley might be The Scrappy, but he's still just a kid. At this point in the original timeline, he was only an acting Ensign on a ship designed to explore and learn, and him being there was about the crew trying to help him progress in the future. Here, though, he has no future. He's wearing a full Ensign uniform, meaning he has obviously been rapidly pushed through the Academy in a short period of time -if he even went at all- along with countless other teenagers on hundreds of worlds. In the Federation's desperation to provide soldiers for an endless, losing war, they are literally being forced to recruit children.
- Tasha may have at least gotten to choose her death and making it more meaningful this time. Will Riker is not presented the same chance. The character goes from alive to dead in a matter of seconds and no time can be given or spared to mourn.
- What's more is the interpersonal relationships. Or more poignantly, the lack of them. Picard never calls Riker "Number One", only "Commander".
- The last we see of the battleship Enterprise, she is surrounded by Klingon warships, her weapons have been silenced, the bridge is engulfed in flames, and the Klingons are battering the helpless ship, which is moments away from suffering a warp core breach anyways. As the Enterprise-C sails through the rift moments later, we abruptly cut back to the bridge of the Starship Enterprise, curiously observing the temporal rift, unaware of anything that has passed, let alone Tasha Yar's sacrifice, which they won't even learn about until the next season finale, Redemption, Part I. And of course, the revelation of Tasha's final fate in the alternate timeline is itself a Tear Jerker.
- The simple fact that Worf isn't on the ship because the Klingons are at war with the Federation in the alternate timeline. One of the most beloved characters in the franchise, and he's probably killing Starfleet officers somewhere if he's even alive at all. The funny scene of him enjoying prune juice isn't just innocuous; it shows what stands to be lost if the timeline isn't fixed.
- Imagine this episode from the perspective of Garrett's crew: you've just miraculously escaped certain death by the skin of your teeth... into a nightmare future that can only be put right by turning around and flying right back into your certain death.
- Every scene with Guinan is a cross between tearjerker and Fridge Horror. Just the idea that the entire universe has gone terribly wrong and you're the only one who can see it...
- The death of Lal, Data's daughter.Lal: I feel...
Data: What do you feel, Lal?
Lal: I love you, Father.
Data: I wish I could feel it with you.
Lal: I will feel it for both of us... thank you for my life.
- Admiral Haftel, who had been sent to take Lal away, standing in the corridor on the edge of tears talking about how Data had worked so hard and so fast (beyond Haftel's ability to even see what he was doing) to try and save her. He may have been a Jerkass to Picard and Data, but he wasn't all bad.
- The Expanded Universe novel Star Trek: Immortal Coil examines what happens when Data can feel it. The grief at the deaths of Lal, (by that time) the Juliana Tainer android, and even Lore never went away, but instead dropped on him like a ton of bricks. As before, he suggests that he should turn off the emotion chip to return to his normal efficiency. Picard, as before, talks him out of it, telling him that he has to process his feelings, not hide from them. And he should know.
- Lal babbling about her fear to Troi. She doesn't have enough experience to articulate her feelings, so all she can do is be afraid. And Troi can't help her, as much as she wants to.
- Data can't even grieve for his lost daughter. It is left to the crew, and to us, to grieve for him.
Sins of the Father
- To preserve the empire and protect his brother, Worf willingly becomes an outcast from his people. What really kills is after all the other Klingons have turned their backs to him, and Kurn is looking at him almost with tears in his eyes. Then afterward, as Worf and Picard are taking their leave, Kurn can be seen hanging his head.Worf: You must also...Brother.
[With one last grieved look, Kurn crosses his arms and turns around.]
- This episode features a Betazoid man who was born with his abilities turn on and cannot control them, so he often angsts about the emotions/thoughts he's sensing being too much. He even says he wants to die at one point.
- The look on Reg Barclay's face when Captain Picard refers to him as 'Mr. Broccoli' in front of the entire bridge crew. He looks absolutely crushed, probably because he knows about the nickname and how much the crew despises him, but he never thought the captain would sink that low. The saddest thing is that it was an honest mistake, a Freudian Slip. Picard had explicitly told Riker to nip the nickname in the bud and had been one of Barclay's staunchest supporters in private when others wanted to have him transferred off the Enterprise.
- The fact that our heroes are the ones advocating Barclay, who many in the audience can immediately sympathize with, be transferred, is its own tearjerker. Sure, they're saying it from the perspective of superior officers who are concerned that he can't handle the pressures of working on the Enterprise, a ship known to house the best of the best within Starfleet, and which is often in dangerous situations that need everyone performing at 100%, but they're still saying "we think he doesn't belong here."
- For Trekkies out there who deal with serious anxiety, "Hollow Pursuits" as a whole is gonna hit home, but Barclay finally opening up to Geordi in Ten-Forward about the social struggles he faces is very, painfully resonant. Poor Barclay.Barclay: You don't know what a struggle this has been for me, Commander.
Geordi: I'd like to help, if I can.
Barclay: Being afraid all the time, of forgetting somebody's name, not knowing what to do with your hands. I mean, I'm the guy who writes down things to remember to say when there's a party. And then when he finally gets there, he winds up alone in the corner trying to look comfortable examining a potted plant.
Geordi: You're just shy, Barclay.
Barclay: "Just shy." Sounds like nothing serious, doesn't it? You can't know.
- Zack Handlen really puts his finger on it in his review of the episode. "It's hard not fitting in. Everyone knows this; we all have some time in our lives when we felt like we weren't in step with the group no matter how hard we tried. But there's a special kind of hell reserved for being stuck in a group of nice, friendly folks who make every effort to make you feel welcome, and you still keep stuttering and tripping and generally making a fool of yourself. Assholes are never fun to be around, but at least when they treat you badly, you can tell yourself they're the ones with the problem. What do you do when the ones holding you down are blameless? What do you do when the only person you can really blame for your misery is yourself?"
- It gets revisited in Barclay's second episode, "The Nth Degree," where Reg is gifted through Applied Phlebotinum with incredible intelligence, confidence, and charisma. This quote makes it a tearjerker moment for him when he returns to "normal."Barclay: Yes, I've finally become the person I've always wanted to be. Do we have to ask why?
- The early scene in the Ready Room in "The Most Toys": The Enterprise crew believe Data to be dead, the victim of a shuttle explosion; this scene is filled with Geordi, and even Riker and Picard, trying to fight against the notion that Data is dead. But the clincher, the line that starts the waterworks, is from Hamlet, which after Riker has left, Picard reads from his gift to Data, the collected works of Shakespeare: "He was a man, take him for all in all; I shall not look upon his like again."
- Later in the episode, Worf has been promoted to Data's old post and now sitting in his seat. As they investigate an unexplained occurrence (which, as we all know, is business as usual), Picard very casually asks Data for his thoughts on the situation before remembering he's not there anymore. Picard had been handling the situation of Data's death far better than anyone on the ship, but after making this slip-up, in front of the entire bridge crew, you can see from the look on his face how much he really does care.
- Right at the beginning of the same episode, just after Data's shuttle exploded and everyone is staring at the screen in disbelief and horror. It's Worf of all people who is first to speak. And all he can say is "Data."
- Picard's reaction too when talking to Fajo just after the explosion — he's ANGRY at what he just saw.
- Sarek's battle with Bendii Syndrome is essentially the Vulcan equivalent of Alzheimer's. But instead of his memory, he is losing his emotional control, the cornerstone of Vulcan society and civilization.
- Both the episode "Sarek" and Mark Lenard's last scene as the aforementioned character in "Unification I" are beautifully sad in their portrayal of the tragic degeneration that comes with age to even the greatest men.
- Picard struggling with Sarek's emotions after their mind meld in "Sarek" allows us to see Sarek's despair over the death of Amanda, his first wife. It's made even worse since Sarek feels that he never truly revealed the depth of his love for her. Patrick Stewart is at his finest as he gets the chance to show off his vaunted acting skills.Picard: NOOO! It is... it is... wrong! It is WRONG! A lifetime of discipline washed away. And in its place... (laughter to anger to sadness at warp speed) ...bedlam. BEDLAM! (frustration) I'm so old. There is nothing left... but dry bones... (sobs) ...and dead friends. Oh... tired. Oh, so tired.
Beverly: It will pass, all of it. Just another hour, sir. You're doing fine. Just hold on.
Picard: (burst of anger) No! This weakness disgusts me! I HATE IT! Where is my logic? I am betrayed by... (wistfulness) ...desires. I want to feel. I want to feel... everything. (sternly) But I am a Vulcan. I must feel nothing. (epic sobs) Give me back my control.
Picard: (snaps to regret) Per... Perrin. Amanda. I wanted... to give you so much more. I wanted to show you such... (gasping, can't get the words out) ...tenderness. But that is not our way. Spock... Amanda... Did you know...? Perrin, can you know... how... (struggling to get the words out) much... I... love... you...? I do... LOVE YOU!! (bursts into tears)
[Beverly slowly approaches Picard as he recuperates as himself.]
Beverly: I'm here, Jean-Luc. I'm not going anywhere.
Picard: It's... quite difficult. The anguish of the man, the despair... Pouring out of him, all those feelings, (begins to cry) the regrets... I can't stop them! I can't stop them! I can't!
Beverly: (comforting Picard) Don't even try.
- Another bit of meta is that the scene is at least two minutes long - and with a constantly moving camera and no possible cutaway, there is no possibility to stop for a breather. Stewart and McFadden had to do that scene in its ENTIRETY every cut.
- John Doe's happiness at first waking from his injuries is short-lived when he asks "Who am I?"
- In the end, John Doe somberly lampshades the bitter-sweetness of how he must leave the people who saved him, mostly Beverly.
- The away team's horror when they see what's been done to Picard, and their drawn faces when they return and report to Riker. Even Worf is visibly upset, and knowing his sense of loyalty and duty, he likely feels he personally failed the captain. Then Riker shoots down every argument for trying again, because they can't give up what may be their last chance to destroy the Borg ship. Finally, there's the crew's faces when Picard as Locutus addresses them, with no trace of the man they knew in evidence, and Riker gives the terrible order to fire and destroy his mentor and friend.
- All of "The Best of Both Worlds Part II" which doesn't terrify the audience is this, with Riker trying to fit the boots of a man he doesn't feel he can live up to, facing an enemy the Federation is hopelessly unmatched against, asking the empty captain's chair "What would you do?"
Guinan: I've heard a lot of people talking down in Ten Forward. They expect to be dead in the next day or so. They trust you. They like you. But they don't believe anyone can save them.Riker: I'm not sure anyone can.
- He gets his answer from Guinan (keeping in mind that she's a character who has already lost her entire world and most of her species to the Borg: It doesn't matter what Picard would've done. Riker cannot be Picard. He can only lead in his own way.Guinan: If he died it would be easier, but he didn't. They took him from us a piece at a time... he ever tell you why we're so close?[...] Let me just say that What [Picard and I] had was beyond friendship. Beyond family. And I will let him go.
- Guinan's evaluation of the crew's morale:
Riker: I'm sure Captain Picard would have something meaningful and inspirational to say right now... to tell you the truth, I wish he was here, because I'd like to hear it too.
- The briefing.
- There's a subtle tone that many miss - The Best of Both Worlds is frequently said to be the point at which The Next Generation truly broke away from the name of the original series, and became respected in its own right. And it did this by not only crafting a critically acclaimed story, but by choosing to break away from the original with the kind of plotline the original series would never have attempted (partially due to technology constraints of the time, and partly due to the kind of stories they told — isolated fables, more distant from Earth). It's a bittersweet moment, half hopeful and half tearjerker. The crew of the Enterprise D are truly their own now. And to fully embrace that, we had to let the captain go. Maybe it wasn't just this series' captain we let go of.
- He gets his answer from Guinan (keeping in mind that she's a character who has already lost her entire world and most of her species to the Borg: It doesn't matter what Picard would've done. Riker cannot be Picard. He can only lead in his own way.
- "Family", whose Fan Nickname is "The Best of Both Worlds Part III", has a few:
- Jean-Luc's breakdown after a fight with his brother Robert.Jean-Luc: You don't know, Robert, you don't know. They took everything I was. They used me to kill and to destroy, and I couldn't stop them! I should have been able to stop them! I tried. I tried so hard. But I wasn't strong enough! I wasn't good enough! I should have been able to stop them. I should, I should.
Robert: So, my brother is a human being after all. This is going to be with you a long time, Jean-Luc. A long time.
- To put this into proper context, Picard had just come out of a mission where he had been mind-raped by the Borg and turned into one of them in order to not only assimilate him to the Borg, but also utilize him and his knowledge of Starfleet in order to destroy Starfleet and the very people he'd sworn to protect. One can only imagine the kinds of horrors that he had to endure. One scene in particular is when he is being "upgraded" and a Single Tear falls down his cheek, revealing to some degree just how harrowing of an experience it was. This scene effectively shows us what kind of horrors he had to endure to protect not only the people he cared about, but Starfleet and every single citizen belonging to the Federation.
- The moment above is enough to quantify as its own Tear Jerker, seeing as how Picard is desperately trying to hold on to what remains of his humanity and fight like very few could. Needless to say, both of these scenes are tear-inducing in their humanity and horror.
- Jack Crusher's message to Wesley.Jack Crusher: Hello, Wesley. As I make this recording, you are about ten weeks old. I wanted you to know who I am today. This Jack Crusher won't exist by the time you're grown-up. I'll be older, more experienced and, hopefully, a little wiser. But this person will be gone, and I want you to know who I was when you came into the world. When I see you lying there, in your crib, I realize I don't know the first thing about being a father. So let me apologize for all the mistakes I'm about to make. I hope you don't grow up resenting the fact I was gone so much. That comes with this uniform. I don't know if I can explain why Starfleet means so much to me. Maybe you'll understand when you get this recording. Maybe you'll even want to try one of these on. But you'll probably be a doctor, like your mother. You're only a baby, but it's remarkable. I see in your face all the people I've loved in my lifetime—your mother, my father and mother. Our family. I can see me in you, too. And I can feel that you're my son. I don't know how to describe it, but there's this connection, this bond. I'll always be a part of you, Wesley. Well, I hope this makes some sense to you. I'm not sure that it does to me, but maybe I'll do better next time. I love you, Wesley.
Wesley: Goodbye, Dad.
- Worf's parents' concern for his recent discommendation. As they say themselves, they don't really understand the nuances of what happened to Worf or how he feels, but they still came. They're not sure what they can do to help, and they know that some of their attempts are failing miserably, but they still have to try.
- Jean-Luc's breakdown after a fight with his brother Robert.
- The ending scene.Crusher: They're brothers, Data. Brothers forgive.
Lore (near tears): ...Why couldn't you just fix me?
- Made sadder by the eventual relationship turnout with Lore and Data. Lore did eventually forgive Data, but still ultimately re-programmed him for use of his own ends, and once restored, Data was forced to fuse Lore's positronic net, killing him so he wouldn't hurt anyone else.
- Make no mistake: Lore is an irredeemable monster. But his anguished conversation with Dr. Soong, you at least feel sorry for him a little. And he stops dead in his tracks when he finds out the old man is dying.
- K'Ehleyr being murdered, with Worf and Alexander arriving just in time to watch her die.Worf: You have never seen death. (Alexander shakes his head) Then look... and always remember.
- There is also how her last moments of life are putting her, Alexander, and Worf's hands together, making sure that, regardless of Worf's discommendation, they have this moment of being truly together.
- Worf's roar after she dies. It's not the traditional roar to let the afterlife know a Klingon warrior is coming. It's a roar of raw grief.
- Let's also not forget the end of the episode, after Worf tells Alexander that he's going to stay with Worf's adopted parents.Alexander: Are you my father?
Worf: Yes... I am your father.
- Years later, in the otherwise average episode "Firstborn," we get a grown-up Alexander's perspective on K'Ehleyr's murder:Adult Alexander: And then you howled in rage, and said "Look at her. Look upon death, and always remember." And I always have.
- Riker wakes up from a coma 16 years in the future, and learned that he has a 16-year gap in his memory due to a brain disease, and he may never recover his memories. Among the memories he lost were the memories of his wife and son. Not to mention that his son effectively lost his father.
- The truth is an even greater Tear Jerker. The "future" was a simulation played by an alien child named Barash. His people were wiped out by an unknown foe, and his mother hid him in a cavern with holotechnology and replicators, which would give him everything he wanted. Except it could not give him companionship, and he had been stuck inside alone for what may have been many years.
- O'Brien talking his former captain out of his crusade.Maxwell: I'm not going to win this one, am I, Chief?
O'Brien: No, sir.
- During that scene, the two of them singing the oh-so-appropriate "The Minstrel Boy".
- Before that, O'Brien's reveal that his animosity towards Cardassians is because they made him have to kill during the war.O'Brien: I don't hate you, Cardassian. I hate what I became, because of you.
- Even the Cardassian that O'Brien shares a drink with is ashamed of the battle he mentioned and thinks it was a mistake because it was based on poor intelligence. You really feel that nobody really "won" the war they both fought in, making it all the more tragic.
- The death of the alien life-form, after the Enterprise fires on it in self-defense, given the radiation it was emitting. The shock and horror of having killed an innocent and unknown life-form that may simply have been trying to say "hello" is palpable in Picard's expression.We're out here to explore, to make contact with other life forms, to establish peaceful relations but not to interfere. And absolutely not to destroy. And yet look at what we have just done.
- Worse still, the crew quickly learns it was actually a mother protecting her yet-to-be-born baby.
- "The Drumhead" gives us Nervous Wreck and certified Woobie, Simon Tarses, who is accused of being part of a conspiracy on board the Enterprise by Betazoid interrogator Sabin. Why? Because he lied about his heritage when he got into Starfleet, and he doesn't have Vulcan, but Romulan bloodlines. Of course, that in itself doesn't mean he's part of any conspiracy, but that doesn't matter to Sabin, nor his boss, Admiral Norah Satie. As Satie watches in quiet satisfaction, Tarses gets utterly steamrolled and humiliated by Sabin's interrogation, in a hearing open to the crew, no less. By the end, the poor little guy looks like he wants to roll over and die.Simon Tarses (trying not to cry, and failing): On the advice of my counsel, I refuse to answer that question, in... in that the answer may... s-serve to incriminate me. [buries face in hands]
- Speaking of "The Drumhead," there's a rather understated moment. In the ending scene, Picard delivers an Aesop that Norah Satie was likely always evil and had, for years, been "cloaking herself in good deeds." Now this may be a case of Alternate Character Interpretation, but it appears to be more complicated than that. From the beginning, we're told that Satie had come out of honorable retirement. Then we learn from tidbits here and there that, while her father was a good man and a fair judge, he may have not been the best father (having debates at dinner every night and not letting the kids leave the table till they'd hashed out every possible viewpoint isn't exactly the same as playing baseball and reading bedtime stories). So it's possible that Satie hadn't been hiding a secret desire to be malicious as Picard speculates, but merely someone who'd cracked under pressure after already being old, tired, and out-of-the-loop for so long. With all this in mind, her broken, quivering state at the end of her Villainous Breakdown becomes something quietly tragic. And everyone leaving the courtroom around her, leaving her alone in a Villainous BSoD, just underscores it.
- Lwaxana falls in love with a man from a species who kill themselves at sixty, to spare them and their families from the ravages of age, and he's days away from his sixtieth. She almost convinces him to stay alive with her, but his daughter begs him to come home, to be buried with her mother, to be surrounded with those who love him when he dies, and he can't do it. Not only does Lwaxana, after all of her raging against it before, go along with it, she goes with him.
- Also, the scene where Lwaxana explains to Deanna why this whole situation is hitting her so hard, what it's like to contemplate growing old. She ends up sitting on the transporter pad, breaking down in tears on Deanna's shoulder.
- The final scene. After getting out of a lackluster relationship, Ensign Jenna D'Sora tried pursuing a relationship with Data, only to eventually realize that she left a man who barely showed emotion to her for a man who was incapable of having real emotions. She has to dump him, and the coldness of Data's response ("Then I will delete the appropriate program.") just guts her.
- For those who've been in bad relationships, there will never be more envy directed at Data. How much easier things would be if one could simply "delete the appropriate program." And yet, the closing shot of Data, absently petting Spot, reacting in no way at all to the fact he was just dumped, is also sad. As far as we've seen Data come, he still has such a long way to go.
- Sela's story of the fate of her mother, Tasha Yar. Particularly when you factor in the fact that she transferred to the Enterprise-C so that her death could have meaning, only to end up the concubine of a Romulan general, pregnant with his child, and then having her daughter call for the guards, who executed her, rendering her once more with a meaningless death.
- Applying some Fridge Logic, Sela herself also becomes a tragic figure - she walks into the conference lounge of the Enterprise, tells Picard her life story, then immediately demands that he never doubt that she is Romulan. Picard, however, is visibly unconvinced that her story is even true in the first place. This makes her demand come across as less of a demand that he take her seriously and more an attempt to convince HERSELF of it. Sela is, in many ways, a mirror to Spock, unable to be fully of either side of her heritage, despite her attempts to embrace one of them. It is notable, in this context, that she keeps her hair blonde, rather than dying it to match that of the other Romulans we meet in Star Trek as a whole - despite her attempts to be considered Romulan, that there is nothing human to her, she carries this visible reminder of her human heritage.
- The scene where Picard recounts The Epic of Gilgamesh to the dying Captain Dathon, and with it, they finally understand each other, is so bittersweet.Picard: Enkidu fell to the ground, struck down by the gods, and Gilgamesh wept bitter tears, saying "He who was my companion, through adventure and hardship, is gone forever."
- Much about the Bajorans in general; both the description of their plight (driven out of their home into camps, oppressed, tortured) and the visuals of the camps themselves, and the recognition that this has been the state of affairs for generations and they've had nothing but empty promises to compensate. To anyone who's been to Palestine and to the camps there, much of the episode is physically painful to watch, and the parallels are far too apparent not to appear deliberate.
- Dr. Marr has just killed the Crystalline Entity in order to avenge her son Rennie, who was killed by it several years prior. Data, who has many of his journal entries, tells Dr. Marr that Rennie was proud of his mother's career and would have been sad that she'd thrown it away for revenge. This situation plus her expression of remorse... tear-inducing. Made worse by her trying to turn Data into a Replacement Goldfish for her son.
- The whole thing, really. Carmen's death. And Marr is, in the end, a fundamentally broken woman who has nothing left but her revenge for her son's murderer.
- The entire scene with Sarek undergoing the final stages of Bendii Syndrome. He now wants to be in isolation and makes outbursts at everyone, including his wife Perrin. It takes meeting with Picard for him to temporarily return to his senses.
- While Sarek talks to Picard about Spock and his Romulan friend Pardek, he suddenly has a memory lapse and asks Picard how he knows about Pardek, forgetting that he told him just moments earlier. For those with loved ones suffering from Alzheimer's disease and similar neurodegenerative disorders, this will hit very close to home.
- Sarek's plea to Picard, after Picard has come to find out why Spock is on Romulus.Picard: Sarek, we're a part of each other. I know that [Spock] has caused you pain, but I also know that you love him.
Sarek: Tell him, Picard.
- Sarek and Picard's final words to each other. Sarek struggles to make the Vulcan salute, prompting Picard to assist him.Picard: Peace and long life.
Sarek: Live long and... and... Live long and... (Breaks down crying.) Spock, I'm sorry.
Picard: ...and prosper.
- And then there's the Reality Subtext about it; Sarek's decline and eventual death mirrored the timing of Gene Roddenberry's own. "Unification I" is also dedicated to Roddenberry.
- At the end, Spock expresses his regret that he and Sarek never mind-melded. Picard offers to meld with him so Spock can experience what Sarek shared with Picard. Spock initiates the mind-meld... and his normally stoic expression cracks as he looks near to bursting into tears.
- The ending of "Unification II", with its hopes that the Romulans and Vulcans will find peace, has turned Harsher in Hindsight since the 2009 reboot. Romulus gets annihilated by a supernova, and in vengeance, Nero destroys the alternate timeline's Vulcan, all due to Spock's failure to save them.
- This is mitigated a bit in the Expanded Universe, where it's revealed that in the prime timeline, the Romulan survivors have split into two factions. The traditionalists want to restore the Romulan Star Empire and maintain their old ways, but others who want to live more peacefully and develop friendlier ties with other races break away and form the Romulan Republic. And the first Proconsul of the new republic? D'Tan, Spock's young Romulan friend.
- The ending of "Unification II", with its hopes that the Romulans and Vulcans will find peace, has turned Harsher in Hindsight since the 2009 reboot. Romulus gets annihilated by a supernova, and in vengeance, Nero destroys the alternate timeline's Vulcan, all due to Spock's failure to save them.
- The episode features a young boy named Timothy, whose parents died in an accident and he's grieving, still being sad at the end. Troi describes his condition as his "world being gone" and him being in "a lot of pain". This is even worse because he tries to suppress his emotions by pretending to be an android and there's some unnerving pathos to the idea of someone doing something silly for a serious reason. The "cherry on top" might be when Timothy admits that he thinks he accidentally killed them and starts ugly-crying. Troi reveals that there's no way Timothy could have accidentally killed his parents, but it's still sad.
- Troi looking on the verge of tears in the turbolift with Picard because she regretted getting together with a man.
- Riker chewing Worf out for seeking to kill himself is a poignant reminder of how harsh life in Starfleet can be.Do you remember Sandoval? Hit with a disruptor blast two years ago. She lived for about a week. Fang-lee, Marla Aster, Tasha Yar! How many men and women, how many friends have we watched die? I've lost count! Every one of them, every single one, fought for life until the very end!
- Riker arrives too late to save Soren from the operation that wipes out her gender identity (her species is androgynous, and views gender identification as a perversion).
- Lwaxana's reason for marrying the (dreadfully dull and overbearingly rule-bound) Minister Cambio - she's scared of being alone, and is seizing this relationship simply to avoid loneliness, despite all of the ways she is sacrificing her own nature to do so.Lwaxana: I'm alone, Alex. And when you do get older and can no longer pick and choose from whatever may come your way, then you do what we call compromise. It keeps you from being afraid.
- Lets not forget the Reality Subtext - this was Majel Barrett only a few months after Gene Roddenberrys death, likely voicing her own fears of carrying on without him.
- "The Inner Light" has been known to reduce grown men to tears. Particularly, The Reveal: Picard, after living forty years in a simulation of the life of "Kamin," discovers that it was all part of a program designed by the people of Kataan, to give Picard an experience of their community and culture, and pass it on. Why? Because they're all long dead - their sun went nova a thousand years beforehand. And Picard wakes up, after having experienced all this within twenty-five minutes, and he looks crushed.Eline: Now we live in you. Tell them of us... my darling.
- The final moments of the episode just drive the tragedy home. The probe that caused all this shut down after it finished the simulation. Inside was a single artifact that Riker decides to bring to Picard. It's the Ressikan flute, which "Kamin" spent his entire life playing. A very shaken-up Picard closes out the episode alone in his quarters, playing a melody he learned from his time on Kataan - the ceremonial birth melody, for a son he never had.
- Picard raised his daughter to be a scientist, to be knowledgeable about the world. When she discovers that the planet is doomed...Picard: Perhaps I should have filled your head with trivial concerns. Games and toys and clothes.Meribor: I don't think you mean that.Picard: No, I don't. It just saddens me to see you burdened with the knowledge of things you can't change.
- The last glimpse into the original Enterprise bridge, courtesy of none other than Scotty himself. "Here's to ye, lads." Hell, whenever Scotty isn't being epic or funny, he's bringing up the Manly Tears in "Relics".
- Scotty is being escorted to his quarters by Ensign Kane, talking all the way. Kane is as patient and polite as you can expect, but eventually he has to tell Scotty that he has to get back to duty. The implication is that he doesn't really want to listen to an old man ramble on about things that he doesn't care about. Scotty understands, but that doesn't mean he has to feel good about it. He collapses into a chair, depressed at the idea that he doesn't have a place in this new world.
- A de-aged Keiko tries to read a story to her daughter Molly and the innocent child says "I want my mommy", not recognizing her. Anyone with a family can empathize with how Keiko must feel then.
- Ro Laren talking about her childhood in "Rascals".
- Ro talking about the torture and death of her father while she watched.
- Ro Laren talking about her childhood in "Rascals".
- The Heroic Sacrifice of the third Exocomp.
- The ending, which reveals that Picard was indeed broken by the torture and could see five lights.
- You can clearly see that Picard is struggling to hold back tears in the alternate timeline, where he's merely a junior-grade lieutenant working in astrophysics. Picard looks like this is a Fate Worse than Death for him.Picard: Are you having a good laugh now, Q? Does it amuse you to think of me living out the rest of my life as a dreary man in a tedious job?
- When he goes to Riker and Troi in the altered timeline, asking about career advancement options, at first they can pretty much only damn him with faint praise (hes punctual), and then have to effectively bring him down to earth - with the record he has, of not taking any risks, Jean-Luc Picards career goes no further than a junior grade lieutenant, bringing reports to the senior staff.
- The closing speech.Picard: There are many parts of my youth that I'm not proud of. There were loose threads... untidy parts of me that I would like to remove. But when I pulled on one of those threads... it unraveled the tapestry of my life.
- If that weren't enough, Riker then muses about a daring, headstrong, foolish Picard, which opens up Picard to telling stories of his youth.
- "The Inner Light" gets a Call-Back. Nella Daren visits Picard in his quarters, and asks about the Ressikan flute he had been contemplating.Daren: I've never seen one before.
Picard: ... They're not played anymore.
- Later, Picard explains what he meant.Picard: Do you remember that folk melody I played for you this morning?
Picard: I learned it on a planet called Kataan.
Daren: Never heard of it.
Picard: No, I'm not surprised. Its sun went nova more than a thousand years ago.
- Towards the end of the episode, when Picard believes he had sent Daren to her death on a dangerous away mission, he walks over to where the flute's case is and wordlessly slams it shut, as though expressing he could never play that flute again. Considering the heartbreak he went through learning it...
- There's also the final scene of the episode, where they both decide that they can't be together. Just the sheer... normalcy of the dialogue. How it has an air of certainty and finality to it, even before they acknowledge that they can't make it work. They know it's coming (and, because Status Quo Is God, the audience knows its coming), but it still hurts.Daren: Promise me something? Don't give up your music.
- Later, Picard explains what he meant.
- Data deactivating Lore, even though Lore is a monster.Lore: I... love you... brother.
- "Interface" isn't very happy to begin with, centering around the possible loss of Geordi's mother and his subsequent denial. But there's one remarkably sad scene where Riker tries to talk it out with him, and relates this story of his late mother:Riker: My mother died when I was a baby. All I have is pictures, and the stories that my father used to tell me about her. I begged him to tell those stories over and over. When I was five and I went to school, I started to tell my new friends those same stories, pretending that she was alive. Then I started believing that she was alive, that she'd just gone away, but that she was coming back. The teacher got wind of this, and she and my father had this talk with me. They told me it was important to accept the fact that my mother was dead, and that she wasn't coming back. And all the hoping in the world wouldn't make it so. In my mind, that was the day that my mother actually died. I cried all that night.
- The last fifteen minutes. Lwaxana reliving the death of her first child, Kestra, while Deanna was still an infant.Deanna: (last line) Tell me about her. I want to know everything.
- Even before that, there's Deanna meeting the memory of her father, who all but begs her for them to be able to talk this one last time, and Deanna's tearful response.Deanna: Goodbye, Daddy.
- Really, the whole episode manages to reframe Lwaxana's persistent attempts at meddling with Deanna's life, because now we understand why she can't help but treat Deanna as her "little one," insisting that she MUST marry (and, presumably, have children) for years - she could never see Kestra grow up and experience these things, her eldest daughter is forever a child, and she can't help but transfer some of that onto Deanna, because she refuses to even acknowledge Kestra's existence in her grief.
- Data's conversation with a hologram of his "father", Dr. Soong. Data wants to know why Soong doesn't want him to reveal that his "mother" Juliana is really another android, whom Soong built after the real Juliana died. You can tell the sadness Soong felt when he made the recording, of how much he loved her, and how he couldn't bear to tell her the truth.Soong: Truth is - in every way that matters - she *is* Juliana Soong. I programmed her to terminate after a long life. Let her live out her days - and die, believing she was human. Don't rob her of that, son. Please.
- The glimpse of the Enterprise from a universe in which the Borg have completely taken over the Alpha Quadrant, contact the Enterprise Worf is currently on to BEG them not to send them back. When they are refused, they choose to attack the Enterprise of the prime universe. They know that this alone would destroy them by overloading their weapons, but even this is preferable to returning to that hell. We are so used to seeing the Enterprise fighting with determination and conviction. To see the crew we know and love, all of them, even Riker, driven to the point of desperation and suicide by the Borg, is probably the hardest scene in the episode, if not the entire series in general.
- In one of the alternate universes, Worf is married to Troi, but Alexander doesn't exist, which breaks his heart when he learns of this.
- A small moment, when alternate-Riker tells main-Picard it's good to see him again. His Picard died during "The Best of Both Worlds", so he got to say hello and goodbye to a close friend who had been dead for three years.
- Riker's mourning the Pegasus crewmembers who have been forever entombed within the asteroid that the ship partially materialized inside. While his loyalty to Admiral Pressman was already faltering, it's clear that this moment is what finally breaks the admiral's hold over Riker.
- The final fate of Vorin, who commits suicide because he can't live among aliens or be regarded as insane by his people or keep the truth a secret from them. Picard shows real regret when he says that he would've liked to have known him better.
- The heartbreaking ending, especially when Worf sits down with all of Sito's friends to reminisce and mourn her death.
- Picard's announcement of Sito's passing is thoroughly depressing. For one, it's the sad realization of just how often Picard - plus Kirk, Sisko, Janeway, Archer, and so on - has had to make this solemn announcement. Not to mention that Picard is obviously especially heartbroken over inadvertently leading a promising young ensign to her death.
- Nurse Ogawa's startled, dismayed gasp on hearing of her death on the comm system sells it.
- Ro tells Macias this story:Ro: My father... played the klavion. When I was very young and afraid of monsters under my bed... my father would play for me. He said the sound of the klavion had special powers. Monsters were afraid of it, and they'd disappear whenever they heard it. When I listened to the music he played for me... I was never afraid to go to sleep. When he died, I realized... even he couldn't make all the monsters go away.
- The episode doesn't linger on it, but at one point in the past, Picard starts issuing orders, and reflexively gives ones relating to security to Worf, rather than Tasha. She protests and he corrects himself, but there's a moment where you can see him regretting that he is attempting to keep the timeline intact, which means that she's going to die within a year. Not that he can prevent it — nothing he does affects the timeline.
- The last lines of the series. Picard, having just finished a game of Timey-Wimey Ball Tennis with Q, comes to the weekly poker game for the very first time. He sits down, tells them that he was actually quite the shark in his day... then pauses, puts the deck down, and looks around at his friends:Picard: I should have done this a long time ago.
Troi: You were always welcome.
Picard: So, five-card stud, nothing wild... and the sky's the limit.